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Download Limits & Speed

LoneRanger
Grafter
Posts: 52
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎07-05-2011

Download Limits & Speed

Ok, I have been a Plusnet (Force 9) customer for 12 years, and a broadband user for 5 years but not for much longer.  I am on an old contract which gives a usage allowance of (supposedly) 20Gb/month.  Once 13Gb is reached my connection speed is halved and once 17Gb is reached it is halved again.  The meter runs between 16:00 and 00:00. All other times are off the clock. Now this sounds quite reasonable but for one thing.  On a good day I get a connection speed of 2Mb/s.  Often it is closer to 1Mb/s.  What this means is that all the time I am on full speed connection I can just about watch a low quality Youtube clip without it stuttering.  Higher quality is a joke.  The same goes for iPlayer. This is rather unfortunate as I have an internet capable TV which is virtually unusable.
Once I reach the 13Gb point and speed is halved, Youtube and iPlayer become unusable.  Popular web sites such as eBay time out continuously and trying to access a site with any interactivity is impossible.  As for online gaming..... not a chance.  Typically we reach the 13Gb marker about mid way through the third week of the month.  So for up to two to three weeks of the month I'm paying £20 for an internet connection that just doesn't work.
I'm sure that if the connection speed approached something near the advertised speed (or even half of it) there would be no problem.  But it doesn't even get close.  I have spoken to Plusnet on numerous occasions about this and they say they cannot do anything about it.  In that case why do I get penalised compared to someone living in a good connection speed area that utilises the internet in exactly the same way? If you cannot deliver a reasonable connection speed you should waive the usage restrictions to compensate.
Plusnet needs to wake up and look at the services available through the internet and modify their limits/speeds to cope.  BBC are forever advertising high definition iPlayer.  If I were to watch more than a couple of programs on it a week I would loose all usage of the internet very quickly.  What is the point of organisations such as the BBC investing millions in bringing these services to the public if ISP's such as Plusnet are unable to cope with required bandwidth?
I'm sorry, I have had enough.  On Monday I shall be applying for a MAC number.  So much for customer loyalty.  Plusnet, get a grip and move with the times.
19 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,926
Thanks: 1,265
Fixes: 71
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Plusnet Premier is a very old product last sold in April 2007. Have you considered upgrading to one of its replacements?
The current Plusnet Extra has a download limit of 60GB, though peak time runs from 8am to midnight. This costs £17.99 per month in a Market 1 area compared with £21.99 for your legacy product (Extra is £11.49 in Market 3 areas). With this product you can use the full 60GB before hitting bandwidth-associated restrictions (additional bandwidth can be purchased if desired).
Speed restrictions apply in the evening on some protocols (expand the Extra section on this page for details), though the maximum speed you mentioned is below the limit speed for YouTube.
With the speeds you experience I assume you are some distance from your exchange. Probably you are much nearer to your cabinet and FTTC would probably give you considerable benefit. You can check whether it is currently available to you by putting your phone number into the box top-right on this page.
You might find giving the Customer Options Team a call is worthwhile.
David
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2009

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Until a month ago, we were on an even older product (ADSL Home Surf) that was pretty much identical to the Premier Option 1 that you mentioned. We then started to hit the 13GB limit at month end, so had to pay attention sometimes.
But this "limit" of 13GB (followed by the 17GB and 20GB ones) are only a limit of the product you were on, and Plusnet should have been able to offer a shift to one of the other tarrifs - spraxyt identifies that "Extra" is probably the best option, with a 60GB limit.
We were concerned over doing this, for 2 reasons
a) Traffic is "managed" to a higher degree on Extra, compared with Premier 1. Some protocols get squeezed harder in the evenings, and/or for longer
b) The peak "charged-for" hours double on Extra; 16 hours instead of 8.
We swapped to Extra a month ago (in preparation for fibre), so have now experienced the behaviour:
a) The extra management isn't really noticed in the "extended" periods (from early afternoon). Download speeds seem to be hit slightly from 8PM to 10PM, but not in a way that you notice at the browser.
b) As expected, peak traffic is now in the majority, but there is plenty of headroom available. Our old rate of about 13GB peak traffic (per month) had become 20GB with the new peak hours. Or would have done, if we weren't on holiday for a week.
On balance, things seem to be running just fine at the moment, with just a little more susceptibility around 8-10PM.
One further advantage on the modern tariffs is that your limit is soft - you can specify that additional bandwidth can be bought if needed (£5 for 5GB).
As for your line speed - there is indeed little PlusNet can do unless there is a fault with your line. It could be worth investigating that a little. Can you post router statistics on here?
But for costs, it is very much true (in this country) that the cost of broadband has little to do with the speed of the connection, and everything to do with the volumes transferred.
BT charge the same (to ISPs) for your line, no matter whether it runs at 512kbps, 1Mbps, 8Mbps, or even 24Mbps. And Ofcom encourages this.
That is a fixed charge per month. After that, ISPs have to pay for bandwidth capacity through BT's network and onto the connecting pipes that bring the data onto the ISP's own network. These charges are in proportion to the volume.
There is no component of the charge that is proportional to your speed... except for fibre technology (and that is because Ofcom allows BT more freedom to charge more).
All of that suggest that the way to move with the times is to have packages that allow for different volumes. Before April, you could choose packages with 10GB, 20GB and 60GB volumes. Since then, the 2 fibre packages have been added with 40GB and 120GB volumes.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
LoneRanger
Grafter
Posts: 52
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎07-05-2011

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Thank you for the replies.  However, just to clarify this situation further:
We have typically four PC's on line during any evening and one or two during the day.  All of which want to do such things as watch Youtube, iPlayer or play games - not unreasonable when their are children in the household.  Hence our monthly total utilisation is in the region of 100Gb.  Plusnet Extra would cost me around £60 per month - not exactly value for money when a person with a decent speed connection on the old contract will get the same for £21.99.
I think you missunderstand my point regarding all of this.  If I were on, say, an 8Mb/s connection (still much slower than the advertised speed), when halved it would drop to 4Mb/s.  When halved again it would drop to 2Mb/s.  So a person with an acceptable speed when on maximum throttling will be on the BEST speed I can get and will hardly notice the throttling.  Yet as soon as I am throttled to half speed I can barely use the internet.  Does it seem fair then that a person that gets a decent speed has this advantage over one that does not?  My wife wants to set up an ebay shop but as ebay is only accessible for just over two weeks each month this is clearly not viable.
As for router statistics, I have been through all of this with Plusnet on several occasions.  I have tried five different routers, new filters, connecting directly to the master socket, removing ALL other devices connected to the phone line, physically disconnecting all extensions from the master socket etc etc etc.  I have now given up and accept that the service is rubbish.  Strangely though a year ago I was getting nearly double this speed and nothing has changed in my house. I am also less than 1km from the exchange. My neighbour (who is with BT) gets a consistent 5Mb/s.
What makes matters worse is the real world effect that throttling has on downloading.  Typically I see 250kB/s.  Once throttled that drops to 50kB/s.  How is that 50% then?  Seems more like 20% to me.  I used to get a higher speed on ISDN six years ago. Thats progress for you.
Unless Plusnet remove the throttling until 20GB is reached in peak time (unlikely) so I can actually use what I pay for I am out of here. I have put up with this rubbish for far too long. MAC number please.
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Hi there,
Changing a product design for a legacy product isn't something we can easily do I'm afraid, nor is it likely (we tend not to continue development on legacy products at all).
Is all of your 100GB usage between 8am and midnight?
LoneRanger
Grafter
Posts: 52
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎07-05-2011

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Pretty much, we tend to sleep between midnight and 8am  Grin
Due to the poor connection speed and the ability for it to generate web site time outs it is not possible to utilise iPlayer's download facility as 90% of the time if we try to do that then the download fails. Hence we have no option other than to use what would be classed as peak hours on current products.  This is the main reason I have stayed with the product I am on.  To change would cost a small fortune for our usage. If you had a product that was available to me giving, say, 120GB usage I would happily change to that even at greater cost as currently your internet service is useless for half of each month. I'd rather pay £30 a month and get a months worth of use than £21.99 a month for two weeks worth of use.
Can you not just stop the automated throttling?  I'd happily pay extra for just that. It looks like Sky broadband are far more in tune with those wishing to watch HD video over the internet.  Plusnet contracts seem to be completely incapable of coping with the revolution in video on demand via the net.
dick:quote
phil4
Grafter
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎13-12-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

a few thoughts.... Bit random:
1). For the past 3 years my ADSL ran at 1.5mpbs.  Using that I could quite happily VPN to work when it snowed, have two of us surf the web
, watch iplayer and YouTube etc.  It was never the fastest in the world, and big downloads needed to take place over days but it was usable.  I'd therefore suggest you look I to a fault as your experience sounds like a problem, not s 2mpbs connection.
2). It might help all if PN where to offer a couple of bigger usage packages, perhaps 120gb on ADSL, 250 on Fibre.
3). Sky are cunning with their Anytime+ service.  As they hold all the video on their servers they will save lots more money than people like PN if they tried the same (PN would have to pay the bandwidth costs for you to download them, Sky don't).
In general I'd suggest trying to get the fault aspect sorted, and should that not be resolved it looks like PN don't offer a package for you, so elsewhere is about the only place you can go.
LoneRanger
Grafter
Posts: 52
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎07-05-2011

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Thanks for your thoughts on this:
Quote from: phil4

1). For the past 3 years my ADSL ran at 1.5mpbs.  Using that I could quite happily VPN to work when it snowed, have two of us surf the web
, watch iplayer and YouTube etc.  It was never the fastest in the world, and big downloads needed to take place over days but it was usable.   I'd therefore suggest you look I to a fault as your experience sounds like a problem, not s 2mpbs connection.

Is that high definition Youtube?  Big difference in required speed between standard Youtube and HD Youtube.  Having a High Def internet capable TV I'd like to be able to use it!!  How many people at once are trying to acces the net in your house?  Two  or three at once in here.  Bandwidth soon dissapears.
Quote from: phil4
2). It might help all if PN where to offer a couple of bigger usage packages, perhaps 120gb on ADSL, 250 on Fibre.

Quite agree.  I'd be happy to pay more for a package that worked.
Quote from: phil4
3). Sky are cunning with their Anytime+ service.  As they hold all the video on their servers they will save lots more money than people like PN if they tried the same (PN would have to pay the bandwidth costs for you to download them, Sky don't).

We can only get Sky ADSL.  Consequently it's still using BT lines and exchanges.  Who owns Plusnet!!
Quote from: phil4
In general I'd suggest trying to get the fault aspect sorted, and should that not be resolved it looks like PN don't offer a package for you, so elsewhere is about the only place you can go.

Been trying to get it sorted for six months now.  Have now given up and lost all faith in Plusnet.  Time to move on.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,300
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Registered: ‎19-07-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

I'm on the same package as you but am getting the full 8Mb speeds, when you reach 13Gb it doesn't get halved though, it gets limited to a ridiculously low speed, and at 17Gb even lower.  Last month I figured I'd give Extra a whirl and see how it went, it ended up costing me an extra fiver plus I went over that limit and was unwilling to pay £5 just for a couple of days worth of good traffic, but with Extra once you go over you're limited to 128k (I think thats the speed) at all times, even off peak.  On Premier if I go above 13Gb (which I'm due to do quite soon) from midnight till 4pm it'll be full speed still and then restrictions apply.
I *could* switch to an ISP which would give me 16Mb and unmetered downloads for less than I pay PlusNet, but it's loyalty to PlusNet that keeps me here (even though the ISP I'm talking about usually ranks top in customer opinion poll thingies).  Of course, the fact I'll be shopping around when Fibre comes along (to find the best provider for my needs) is starting to tip the scales away from PlusNet but loyalty is err loyal?
I would avoid Extra though, really I should have jumped on the Unlimited package when PlusNet offered it (I wonder how many Fibre trialists are actually on an Unlimited fibre package now?)
Vip3r
Grafter
Posts: 142
Registered: ‎22-10-2009

Re: Download Limits & Speed

I wonder if Plusnet would let you move to the fibre extra product with a 120gb limit whilst still on adsl? that might work for you?
Highlighted
phil4
Grafter
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎13-12-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

Hi LoneRanger, yes it was HD Youtube, though I'd have to be patient and wait for it to buffer.
As to how many, there are 2 of us, both work in IT, so have plenty of the usual stuff that uses the internet, be that games consoles, phones etc.

I guess we just got used to 2Mbit.
Reading and re-reading yours and others comments, it sounds like you get pushed to silly slow speed when you get close to your useage cap.  I guess PN's view when they created the package is that 128Kbits certainly isn't enough for normal surfing, games, or youtube, but was enough to allow "emergency use", ie. check the odd page, collect/send the odd email etc.
I guess the same is true of Extra (I've never hit my limit, so haven't experienced the cap). 
To an extent I'd much rather plusnet have an "emergency" fall back usage on the cap, ratther than just cutting you off, or charging you more.  But as you and I both agree, PN don't seem to have a normal package that suits you in terms of normal usage.  To fall back to the emergency usage month in month out says the package is wrong.... but as we've discussed others are no better.
One thing that puzzles me a little, is why the Fibre Extra package isn't offered to ADSL also....  as in the 120Gb cap costs PN the same, so surely 120Gb could be offered to ADSL users for the same price (with perhaps even better terms, eg. no installation costs, no 18month tie-in).
It could well be a strategy thing:

Perhaps PN don't want to be the Big ISP that draws all the heavy/pro users, and instead want to pick up the occasional and small users.
So the nice way to do this, is discourage heavier users, by only providing packages for light users.
I'm sure it's not as black and white as above, but I hope it illustrates my thoughts.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

think it is black and white, there is a comment on the Worried  thread to say that is the way that BT Group view it
Edit
Must be cracking up I have seen it very recently that BT Group see PN as the cheaper ISP to get the low end user at a cheaper cost
phil4
Grafter
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎13-12-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

You are right Pierre_pierre, I've seen that quote too.
I think where I was at was that the lack of black and white is around who is heavy use, who's light etc. etc.
Also, don't forget that public statements like that from BT, are as much for their shareholders to see, as the customers.  Shareholders also like to hear the right things, even if on the ground things are a little different.
Regardless, I'd agree with you, I reckon PN are unlikely  offer anything to rival BT's 300Gb/Unlimited caps.
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,202
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Download Limits & Speed

BT gave a 6 month 50% discount to it's shareholders who had Plusnet broadband a few months ago.  Cheesy
The share(s) can't be in a nominee account, though.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2009

Re: Download Limits & Speed

LoneRanger,
When you reach your 13GB, 17GB and 20GB thresholds, the result is NOT that your speed is halved from your previous line speed.
The specifications can be found here: Product Archive for Premier.
At 13GB:
    * Applies between 13-17GB peak time usage
    * P2P, USENET and File Transfer Applications reduced to a maximum speed of 256kb/s
    * All other activities reduced to a maximum speed of 2Mb/s
At 17GB:
    * Applies between 17-20GB peak time usage
    * P2P, USENET and File Transfer Applications reduced to a maximum speed of 128kb/s
    * All other activities reduced to a maximum speed of 1Mb/s
At 20GB:
    * Applies after 20GB peak time usage
    * P2P, USENET and File Transfer Applications are blocked
    * All other activities reduced to a maximum speed of 512kb/s
Those suggest that, with a good day line speed of 2Mbps, you shouldn't notice the 13GB change at all, unless you use the FTP and P2P stuff a lot.
From your various posts, do I calculate rightly that your usage is roughly:
- Very little in the Midnight - 8AM slot
- 80GB in the 8AM to 4PM slot
- 20GB in the 4PM to Midnight slot
Are you really that much busier in the middle slot?
From that, your best (old) option would have been to upgrade to, say, the Premier Option 2, which had 20/25/30 thresholds.
But as you're restricted to the current products, there is nothing viable for your volume of usage in the PlusNet range, unless you can get fibre.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.